Healing the World - Dr Rachel Spitzer - Mount Sinai Hospital Internet by mmcsx


									healing the World
                    How our internationally minded
                    staff are making Mount Sinai a
                    truly world-class hospital
by erin Dym

                                     Dr. Rachel Spitzer
D      r. rachel spitzer has it all: a master’s
       degree from Harvard university,
       a thriving obstetrical practice
at mount sinai Hospital, a supportive
                                                  Kenya, 400 mothers in every 100,000
                                                  deliveries die as a result of pregnancy
                                                  or delivery complications,” she says.
                                                  “eighty per cent of pregnant women
                                                                                               and/or bowel. This can lead to the death
                                                                                               of the baby as well.

                                                                                               Dr. spitzer and her colleagues are trying
husband and a new baby.                           see the doctor just one time during          to help Kenyans overcome these chal-
                                                  their pregnancy. sixty per cent deliver      lenges, and they are becoming world
But it isn’t enough. she won’t rest until         in a health-care facility, leaving room      leaders in this international initiative.
others have more too. As a global Health          for serious complications for women          Yet reproductive health is just one area
scholar with mount sinai’s peter A. sil-          who labour at home. There is less            in which mount sinai and its silverman
verman Centre for international Health,           access to good emergency care and            Centre have emerged as leaders. since
Dr. spitzer, 32, devotes a significant            more severe complications, such as fetal     its establishment in 2002, the silverman
proportion of her energy to improving             malformations, that aren’t discovered        Centre has provided mount sinai staff
obstetrical care in Kenya, Africa.                until birth, and there is no pain control    with the infrastructure and coordination
                                                  during labour.”                              to advance global programs and change
“my goal is to improve the capacity and                                                        best practices in other nations. global
quality of reproductive health care in                                                         Health scholars crisscross the globe and
Western Kenya,” explains Dr. spitzer,
                                                  in Canada, we have a                         specialize in fields that span the health-
who spends two months a year overseas.            maternal mortality rate of                   care spectrum, from mental health and
Today, clad in her green hospital scrubs,         6 in 100,000 live births.                    geriatrics to lab medicine and medical
Dr. spitzer is on duty in the Labour and          in Kenya, 400 mothers in                     and nursing education.
Delivery unit. Her pager rings every
few minutes. she answers each call
                                                  every 100,000 deliveries die                 “Our scholars are extraordinary,” says
promptly, confidently issuing health-             as a result of pregnancy or                  Abi sriharan, Deputy Director of the
care directives to nurses and residents,          delivery complications.                      silverman Centre. “They are devoted to
ensuring that every mom and baby                                                               their patients in Toronto, but are also
receives outstanding care.                        For Dr. spitzer, this isn’t acceptable.      focused on social responsibility and know
                                                  “Health is a human right. We live in a       that what happens in other countries
in her international endeavours, she              global community and this is an issue        affects us. They want to ensure that
works closely with Dr. Alan Bocking,              of social justice. We are so fortunate to    health care around the world is delivered
Chief of Obstetrics and gynaecology               enjoy such an excellent level of health      in an effective manner. They are helping
at mount sinai. They bring Kenyan                 care that i believe we are obliged to        to position mount sinai Hospital as a
doctors and medical students here                 assist people in other parts of the world.   world-class academic institution.”
and send ours to Kenya to improve                 mount sinai has so much capacity and
educational opportunities in both di-             knowledge that we are in a luxurious         Though their efforts are changing medi-
rections. Dr. spitzer has recently led            position to help.”                           cal practices and outcomes across the
an initiative to send some of mount                                                            world, it’s all in a day’s work for mount
sinai’s outdated but fully operational            Working with five other American             sinai’s staff. “There is so much more
ultrasound machines to the moi                    universities, Dr. spitzer and a team at      work to be done and so much knowledge
Teaching and referral Hospital in                 mount sinai have identified three areas      to share,” says Dr. spitzer. “i’m happy to
Kenya to provide doctors with access              of interest for their program in Kenya:      do what i can to help.”
to this vital equipment. Currently, the           to reduce rates of cervical cancer, the
hospital does not have any ultrasound             number one cancer killer of women in         For more information on the Silverman
machines on its labour and delivery unit.         the region; to improve maternal morbi-       Centre or to donate to our international
                                                  dity and mortality rates; and to prevent     initiatives, contact Michael Anthony at
it’s just one of many differences between         obstetric fistula, a severe consequence      the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation at
health care in Canada and Kenya.                  of inadequate care in which excessively      416-586-4800 ext. 2955 or manthony@
                                                  long labour (of many days’ duration)         mtsinai.on.ca
“in Canada, we have a maternal morta-             results in a fistula, or hole, developing
lity rate of 6 in 100,000 live births. in         between the birth canal and the bladder

                                                                                                                        insiDe sinai 09

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